Saturday, July 23, 2016

World Cup Day One Reactions Roundtable

With Day One in the books, the Quidditch Post (QP) brings you our initial reactions from the first day of gameplay. Be sure to keep an eye out for our live tweets and video recaps.

Andy Marmer: Ok, so what are everyone’s thoughts after Day One?

Serena Cheong: The only unexpected result is Canada nabbing the No. 1 seed.

Matt O’Connor: Having watched all their games, I think if Australia can tighten up they’re on course for a medal at least.

Chula Bruggeling: Agreeing with Matt there. I’ve seen a little of everything today, with both being a referee and a live tweeter for QP, and Australia is definitely going strong.

James Hyder: Top five teams all got the job done in the end with Canada coming out big winners by claiming the first seed and dodging the US side of the bracket.

Chula Bruggeling: Personally, I was quite surprised Ireland weren’t doing better than they were doing today. I was head referee for Ireland vs. Slovakia, and I was not expecting Slovakia to win that one. No offense to Slovakia they simply don’t seem as experienced on the international stage, while Ireland had quite a few players who should be used to bigger tournaments at least.

Matt O'Connor: Ireland’s squad balance was awful; too many beaters.

Andy Marmer: I had France and Australia as the second and third best team. And although Canada and the UK have been impressive, I think it’s a shame that Australia and France are probably facing off in the quarterfinals. Also a shame that we have Belgium lining up with the US in the quarterfinals. A few possible great games we’re deprived of. Canada probably gets an easier semifinal by playing one fewer tough game. Belgium could have possibly upset the UK or Canada but won’t get that chance. I wish we could get more top teams playing each other.

Team UK preparing for their expo match against Canada | Photo Credit: Ajantha Abey Quidditch Photography
Chula Bruggeling: Making a side step here for a moment I would really like to point out that the entire tournament managed to run on time for basically every single game. And that’s with a 45-minute time slot. The Organising Team, as well as all players, referees, and general volunteers were definitely making an effort to keep the tournament running as smoothly as possible. Amazing work by everyone.

Andy Marmer: I also think that the gulf in class between the first and second tier is wider than I hoped. Belgium and Turkey really failed to challenge Australia and the UK in a way that I thought they could have. And yes, I think the Organizing Team deserves so much credit so far.

Chula Bruggeling: Definitely a shame that Belgium is probably meeting the US in the quarterfinals. Their team definitely has the potential to go far, maybe even medal if they got a nice bracket seed position, but that chance seems pretty much lost now.

Serena Cheong: Turkey’s game isn’t really built for success, though. It’s a bit of a throwback to the earlier days of quidditch, where the offense would reach mid-pitch, lob a pass to the hoops, and have a cherry picker put it home. Once the UK figured it out in their game against them, Turkey’s offense dried up.

Andy Marmer:  I also wish there were some way to avoid rematches in bracket. UK vs. Turkey and Canada vs. Mexico aren’t really rematches that I’m dying to see (assuming they happen).

Chula Bruggeling: To be fair though, Turkey is missing a couple of players, and Belgium had both Seppe de Wit and Elisabeth Reyniers injured at some point. That’s definitely a loss they’re feeling on-pitch at such a time.

Serena Cheong: Turkey’s general game plan just doesn’t work against more athletic and experienced teams, though.

Chula Bruggeling: Have to be honest here, I haven’t really had the chance to see them properly play today. You might very well be right there, Serena.

Matt O’Connor: Belgium suffered from lack of depth, I think. They held the Aussies for about 10 minutes before falling away.

Serena Cheong: Which Pod 1 team has the easiest route?

Chula Bruggeling: Has tomorrow, or had today?

Serena Cheong: Tomorrow.

Andy Marmer: I mean if we’re only talking quality of opponent, you sort of have to go with the United States. They’re the only team that can win without playing the US. If we take that out of the equation, I think the UK should be really happy with its draw; they really shouldn’t be challenged until the semifinals. Canada should also be counting its blessings to play what will probably be a tired France or tired Australia team.

Serena Cheong: I would think Canada is hoping for France instead of Australia. I don’t think Canada can out-grit Australia, and their finesse levels aren’t good enough to compensate. France will be the smaller team (in size, not roster), and will be easier to play against. Either way, I see it being a close game.

Andy Marmer: Which non-Pod 1 team is most likely to make the semifinals? The great thing about this question is I know two days ago everyone here would have said Belgium.

Serena Cheong: Turkey, but even then, not very likely.

Chula Bruggeling: I would definitely have said Belgium, but with them meeting the US in the quarterfinals, that doesn’t seem feasible anymore, which really is a shame.

Andy Marmer: Anyone want to jump on the Norway bandwagon? Before World Cup a few here were picking Germany over them and while they didn’t exactly handle the US, I think they exceeded expectations in their non-US games. Mexico and Canada have both looked fairly sharp (fairly is probably an understatement for Canada), but I would think Norway has the pedigree and the talent, and honestly I’m not particularly enthused by Turkey.

Serena Cheong: I can see Norway beating Mexico, to be honest, but I don’t think they’re a match for Canada. And by beating Mexico, I mean that I see it being a possibility, but Mexico should still be the favourite to win that game.

Chula Bruggeling: I would say it depends on whether or not Norway can get their balance back. When I spoke with Australia’s captain earlier today, he mentioned he thought the strategy/gameplay of Norway was different in their game against the US than the other games they played. We wondered if it was the mental fact that they were playing the US, and thus thought they needed to do things differently. If they can find their balance and just play like they’ve no doubt worked on during trainings, they might still have a chance.

Mexico scores during their expo match against Turkey | Photo Credit: Ajantha Abey Quidditch Photography
Andy Marmer: Let me throw another question out there. Now that we know what games we will and won’t see (or could and can’t see), which game are you looking forward to, and which are you upset we won’t see? For me, I’m looking forward to France vs. Australia and the winner of that against Canada. I am a little dismayed that we won’t see another matchup of France vs. UK.

Serena Cheong: I’m looking forward to Belgium vs. Italy. It’ll probably be the closest game in that timeslot.

Andy Marmer: So for those of you who were there today, what’s one thing that those of us at home missed out on?

Ashara Peiris: In a word, the atmosphere. It’s the best of any tournament I’ve ever been to.

Andy Marmer: How so?

Chula Bruggeling: Definitely agree with Ashara there. The feeling of being there is enough to put a smile on your face, in my opinion. Simply put, everyone is excited to be there. Teams might have games that result in a gigantic score difference, but that doesn’t seem to stop them from being happy. We’ve seen a huge crowd go wild when Norway was the first to score during the Norway vs. US game, starting the game with the US actually behind. Another crowd went wild when South Korea managed to catch against the UK. Players are walking around chatting with players from different countries; spectators who have never met before come together to cheer on various teams; and volunteers from all across the world are working together and learning from each other during such things as the referee workshops on Thursday and Friday. We can live-tweet and even live stream scores, results, and games all we want, but the actual feeling of being here and connecting with people from all over the world through this sport that we all love is something that simply cannot be shared without actually being here.

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